Fandango’s Provocative Question #83: Who’s controlling what?

One of the big issues with WordPress’s decision to create a kind of block format that is very unappealing to most of us who aren’t here to make money but joined to show off our art, write about issues that matter, display pictures … the artists rather than the money-makers. I’m sure that a lot of us would happily at this stage hop to another platform … but what platform? Medium? They don’t sound like like they would welcome my freewheeling style. Blogger? Has anyone ever gotten a dialogue going on Blogger? I couldn’t. Eventually, I simply gave up. So Fandango’s question is simple and basic:

I think the answer is really that technology controls us. I wish it weren’t true. I don’t want it to be true, but it is. Without WiFi, there’s little I can accomplish. My bank is never open. Everything happens electronically by cell phone and computer. We live in a small town where shopping is limited. There is, for example, no camera store. If I need a lens, I have to buy it online. It’s hard to even find a contractor to do work we need to do. There isn’t much work, but we are a little too far from Boston to commute … and who in their right mind would want to commute to Boston?

These days, WiFi is not a luxury. It’s a utility controlled as a monopoly by whatever town you live in. We don’t have any choice but Charter and they can charge whatever they want since they have no competition. And, because we are a low-density population, other companies aren’t exactly fighting each other to come here and open businesses.

What we have is a lot of natural beauty, the winding Blackstone River and its tributaries, a long history dating back to the early 1600s … and WiFi for everything else. So yes, we are controlled by our technology. Sometimes it’s a marvel. Other times, you just need one long downtime of your cable and suddenly, you feel helpless. Your computer breaks and panic ensues. Your cell phone bites the big one and you literally don’t know how you’ll get through another day.

Yes, we are controlled by our technology, especially right now when we are living in a plague-ridden environment.

What can we do to change it? I don’t know. Nothing right now, but maybe in the future we’ll discover other ways of living. I know I didn’t grow up owned by technology, yet over the decades, I’ve rolled right into it. Haven’t we all?

Categories: #FPQ, Blogging, Computers, Provocative Questions, Technology, Wi-Fi, Word Prompt, WordPress

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36 replies

  1. Nobody has ever asked me anything. They’ve TOLD me what I am supposed to want and the teller was almost always a kid with no life experience and absolutely no experience in software design. I spent most of my working years documenting ridiculously complex software people who used it to create software for other designers. I was never a designer myself, but I am painfully well acquainted with the market and how important it is that those who create software know what people really do with it. This is something that WordPress just refuses to “get.”


  2. Couldn’t agree more. We have used technology in ways that has made our lives complex.


    • That is true, but life IS complex and getting more complicated with each passing year. What I resent is when it is made needlessly complex because people designing software don’t understand or WON’T understand what their customers actually need. This is usually linked to an unwillingness by the designing company to actually ASK people what they want and need. It’s not like life was ever simple. I don’t see why it has to be made more difficult than it already is.


  3. Something to ponder….


  4. Yup, we all are now slaves to technology 🤨🧐

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I left blogger.com for the same reason, no interaction. I enjoy the connection online and in person. I’m not overly thrilled with texting but out of necessity I do, I prefer hearing people’s voices, because their voices give great cues. I do enjoy brief technology breaks, I believe it helps me stay balanced when I am in control.I do agree with Fandango about the feeling of helplessness one feels when the power goes out. So frustrating 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Frighteningly true. About ten years ago, I said, “The more technology, the less communication.”And I meant, and still do, that we communicate now with just voices, a lot of them taped messages, not with real, live human beings. Or negotiations are done online, again divorced from a person to see and watch their expressions and hear the clues in their voices. In my 93 years, I have seen a lot of changes in this world, and am still seeing them, now a totally different planet than the one on which I was born. Since the only permanent thing man knows is change, I can live with that. Whether I survive or not is another questions. But, technology does rule a large portion of our lives and we have to accept it, willingly or kicking and and yelling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not sure about less PERSONAL communication. I still talk with my friends as often as I ever did, though we use email more than telephones, but that’s because we all live in river valleys (three DIFFERENT river valleys), all of which have communications issues. But for other stuff — registering a car, replacing a driver’s licence, paying a ticket or a tax or any kind of bill — or depositing money — it’s all online. The only time you need to show up is when you need cash … and hardly anyone carries case anymore. Customer service is all online and when this mess starts to end, will there even be any malls in which to shop? Not that I like malls anyway, but where else can I buy a battery for my watch?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I still have the personal contact with friends via visits,phone, or email. and sometimes via Zoom or Skype sessions. We always have people dropping by or house, and a lot of them still come by with their masks on. So, we don’t feel isolated. I belong to a couple of animal communication groups, and we always g on Zoom to see each other and converse.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Some have probably rolled more gracefully than others:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think, unless you are completely incompetent technically, you sort of have to. That’s the way life is going and unless you want to be left out, you need to find a way to stay part of what’s going on. I think life will change again. One day, people will rediscover “outside” and begin to gradually spend less time with technology. But some of us always needed it. Writers, photographers, most artists … it comes with the territory. The tools change, but life doesn’t change much. The main major difference is how we communicate. There are times when email is the best thing in the world. If only it didn’t COST so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the expense is certainly a factor to consider.


        • There are a lot of cheap or very reasonably priced computers, but if you do serious photographic or worse, video wok on your computer, you need a lot more than a basic machine. You need a really good graphics card and a LOT of memory. I have (finally) got 16 in this machine — and it’s enough to do what I do. It is NOT enough to work on video. That’s what has stopped me from getting Garry what he REALLY wants: a video camera. Actually, there are two issues. One is that the machine needs a lot of memory and a great video card — not just a good one, but a great one — and you need software. Raw video takes up a lot of room. To use it, you have to download it and process it first through software to reduce its size. Then you can start to play with sound and music and all that stuff. Garry knows a lot more about video than still photographs. He spent his entire professional life working with it. Even though he was talent rather than tech, he learned a lot. He spent hours in the video rooms — basically until they threw him out (he’s one of those perfectionists who make technicians crazy). So he REALLY wants to do video. I might be able to afford the camera — but I don’t know if I could afford the computer to go with it.

          A lot of our hobbies require a good deal of technology. Even if it’s an arc welder!

          Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes, whether we like it or not, we are controlled by technology. We control how we use it or how often we use it, but here in California we are experiencing rolling blackouts and it’s amazing how lost and helpless one feels when suddenly the power goes out and everything goes dark…literally and figuratively.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They’ve closed most of the RMVs in the state. There used to be kiosks in the mall where you could register your car or replace your license, but they’re all gone. Now, you either do it online OR you go and wait and wait and wait in one of the two we still have in this county. AND this is a very BIG county! There are so many things you can’t do without a computer or cell phone here. But amusingly, with all the talk of mail in ballots? You really can’t do that here because you’d have to go to the clerk’s office in town to get the ballots — and it’s closed. There is no other. That’s it for Uxbridge. Town hall, second room on the left down the hallway. AND then you’d have to return it to the clerk’s office — and it’s STILL CLOSED. So that, of all things, we have to do in person. We can buy a CAR online, but not vote.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I also think as we get older and outdoor activities are harder for us, we depend more on technology. A lot of us have actual disabilities and without technology, we’d feel abandoned. Just imagine 150 years ago with a bad heart or serious arthritis. Unless you had a lot of money, you were essentially stuck in a house watching the world from a window. At least now, almost anyone can connect with the world via technology and some of us have technology literally inside us, keeping us alive. I, for example, would not survive five minutes without my pacemaker. My heart doesn’t beat on its own. Actually, 150 years ago I would be dead.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In your case, your life depends on technology. Medical technology, anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Don’t think I’m not grateful. Garry has an implant in his head so he can hear. I have a pacemaker and two implanted heart valves, not to mention two fake breasts. Don’t believe the adverts. The real ones are way nicer and unlike the implants, have actual sensation not only for the feeler, but for the feelee. I carry all kinds of ID for my implants. For reasons I don’t understand, when I explain that an MRI will kill me, people refuse to believe me. I have a metal, magnetic pacemaker. It was considered a more dependable piece of equipment than the newer plastic ones. But I can’t be anywhere near those big magnets so there are a lot of tests they can’t do for me. The pacemaker means that a regular X-ray is about as good as it gets.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. yes, and i am not a fan either of the forced changes we are now dealing with as bloggers. it blows my mind that they wouldn’t offer an option to keep what was working for us, or changing to a new editing format for those who would like the change

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t even understand their logic. It’s the artists and writers who have powered them to the position they are in. If you strip us away, then they are just one of a million commercial sites. They will lose the people who come to “window shop” and along the way, find shops and stuff to buy. WP will be just like the malls, but without foot traffic or eyes (and credit cards!).

      Liked by 2 people

      • A great way of putting it


      • Yeah, I don’t get why they didn’t at least survey us. Or maybe they did and I never saw it. But if they had given us a poll, in which we could try out this new format, and then vote on it, I don’t think they would have changed it because I also have read very few blogs extolling the virtues of Block Editor. But I really don’t want to give up blogging or the blogging community – it’s really the only way I can “publish” what I right, so I won’t quit. I’m just trying to get used to it, like I do with everything else having to do with technology.


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